Still hope for planet’s dwindling fish stocks if action is taken, says Prince

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URGENT action is required to reverse the decline of sustainable fish stocks, boost earnings and secure jobs, the Prince of Wales has warned.

But there is still hope for the planet’s dwindling fish populations if resources are managed more responsibly, he said at the launch of an extensive new report by the International Sustainability Unit.

In a speech at Fishmongers’ Hall in London, the Prince said: “I think it is fair to say that the general impression of what’s happening in fishing has been pretty depressing. It has been a story of constant over-exploitation, haunted by the prospect of collapse.”

But he added that fisheries the world over could learn from examples of good practice: “From Norway to Namibia and from Japan to Peru, there are inspiring examples of good practice which are beginning to translate into bigger catches of fish, higher earnings and more secure jobs.”

A report by the unit, entitled Towards Global Sustainable Fisheries, recommended:

n Better information about what was happening in the oceans and the impact fishing has on marine eco-systems

n Promoting best practice by fisheries across the world and encouraging others to follow

n Shoring up finances by attracting greater investment from the private sector.

In the report, Prince Charles struck an optimistic note: “The story today need no longer be one of doom and gloom and inevitable decline, but one that harbours the possibility of generating more value from a strongly performing natural asset.

“This potential can only be tapped if we manage it well.”

David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK, said: “We share the view of the problem and the collaborative, science-based approach to finding solutions that will protect the marine environment and ensure long-term sustainability for those whose livelihoods are dependent on it.”